Texas police bargain their licenses to avoid prison. New bills could end those deals

Texas Politics

AUSTIN (KXAN) — In the past six years, hundreds of Texas police officers and jailers facing felony charges have been given the opportunity to avoid prison by surrendering their law enforcement license in plea bargain agreements. New legislation at the state Capitol could upend the bargain system and change how the state handles troubled officers.

This investigation showcases:

  • An interactive data feature on how many problem officers have given up their badges as part of plea bargains
  • A deep dive, including evidence, of two cases where officers accused of crimes gave up their badges. In one, an Austin ISD officer ran over a woman in a parking lot and then drove off, saying he didn’t realize he’d hit her. The other details an El Paso officer accused of speeding at approximately 100 mph with a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit. He crashed his car into the back of an 18-wheeler, whose driver died after he was hit while trying to render aid to the officer.
  • An exploration of how other states handle law enforcement licenses and why Texas’ current method is virtually “toothless”
  • Details of two bills currently moving through the Texas legislature designed to address the problem

Click here to explore the full, interactive investigation and accompanying multimedia elements

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